Laying Foundations for Port Freeport’s Progress

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Jeff Taylor

Water Resource Engineer

Over the past five years, Port Freeport has powered forward on an ambitious plan to broaden its role as an economic driver on the Texas Gulf Coast south of Houston.

Currently ranked 17th in the United States in international cargo tonnage handled, the Port is deepening its channel to accommodate larger vessels and has spent several years investing in inland improvements to expand its array of tenants and the services available to them.

Rail, roadway and infrastructure projects completed by Freese and Nichols have enabled the Port to offer clients state-of-the-art facilities and to prepare for even more growth and prosperity in the region.

Those projects include:

Fast-track development of a 15-acre site with security fencing, automatic gates, drainage improvements, and high-mast lighting for storing up to 1,500 vehicles made at the General Motors plant in Arlington before they’re shipped overseas

Master planning for 45,000 track feet of spur and yard rail expansion and Phase 1 design of the rail project that included 21,000 track feet to provide a direct link from the Port to a Union Pacific Railroad line, including a rail bridge over the Velasco Drainage District’s drainage channel and a SH 36 at-grade crossing signal system, making it easier to move goods by land

Design of approximately 8,000 linear feet of 40-foot concrete roadways with major drainage improvements, including a multibox storm sewer system and drainage channels, hydrologic and hydraulic studies, installation of high-mast lights along the yard rail and roadway, an outfall structure for Parcel 14 drainage, and subgrade and base work for future rail expansion

Planning and design of utility improvements, including a 12-inch water line extension to the Port from the City of Freeport water distribution system, with two metering stations and a 3-inch force main to provide sewer and water service for future tenants

Development of a 20-acre area for storing more than 4,000 vehicles on the Port’s Parcel 14, including security fencing, automatic gate, a water loop system and high-mast lighting

In 2019, the Port held a ribbon-cutting celebrating completion of the rail extension, and that project set the stage for development of the 200-acre Parcel 14 site into a multimodal industrial park with new warehousing facilities, cross-docking activities and distribution centers.

In 2020, a major developer started preparing to build four giant warehouses on a 90-acre section of the site, and the Port plans to add 24,000 feet of track using a $6.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“It’s been exciting to see how our infrastructure and transportation work has helped the Port take major steps toward achieving its long-term expansion goals,” said Jeff Taylor, Freese and Nichols’ Southeast Texas Division Manager.

“We were able to reach across the company to accomplish these projects, bringing together expertise that included transportation design, water resource planning, structural, coastal design, mechanical/electrical/plumbing, hydrology, stormwater modeling, construction oversight and project management.”

View a drone video of Port Freeport here.

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Jeff Taylor is an FNI Vice President/Principal and the firm’s Southeast Division.